On Monday, Jupiter and Saturn passed very close to each other in the “Great Conjunction.” At our house, that event happened behind a nice bank of clouds. It was actually impressive that we could still see the planets through the clouds, but the photography was disappointing. So we tried again on Tuesday night. We started with a sunset at Lake Apopka, then pulled out the big lens for the planets. The second time was the charm!
Since the sunset forecast projected a nice sunset, Rich and I headed up to our favorite sunset location at the Magnolia Park boat ramp. It’s going to be closing in January for construction, so we wanted to enjoy it while we can. As always, the sun was beautiful as it sunk lower on the horizon, illuminating the clouds and hinting at a gorgeous afterglow.
Apparently Rich and I weren’t the only ones who wanted to see the sunset. Santa and Mrs. Claus were there too! They were relaxing with a picnic and some wine to prepare for Santa’s big night on Friday!
We ran into a retired co-worker and had fun catching up with him as we watched the sunset turn into afterglow. Then we spotted two now-familiar dots in the sky. Jupiter and Saturn! They shown brightly against the blue clouds as the sunset light faded. You can see the “Christmas Star” in the very middle of this next photo, in between the center trees.
When the mosquitos got the better of us, we returned home and went out with the Beast to photograph the planets. I used LiveView with 10x zoom to refine the focus, then used a remote shutter release to minimize camera shake. We could see the rings of Saturn, four moons of Jupiter, and sometimes one faint moon of Saturn. The image below is a composition, with one exposure for Jupiter and a different one for Saturn. Pretty cool!
So now that the Christmas Star is here, Rich is giving me the Christmas countdown several times a day (in several languages and number bases, just to keep it interesting!). Merry Christmas to all our readers!